Northrop Grumman has demonstrated the Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) satellites in the Aegis campaign test. The missile defense satellites showed the space-based sensors’ ability to maximize defended areas by tracking missiles earlier. This enables interceptors to launch quickly, which is called the force multiplier capability.
The two satellites were built by Northrop Grumman, while the sensor payload was provided by Raytheon. For the Aegis test, two missiles were launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii, within hours of each launch. In the Aegis test, the STSS proved its ability to view a medium range missile, survey the target using both the tracking sensors by means of a booster burnout, and still continue to survey the booster, which is spent, into the post-boost midcourse phase.
The satellites transmitted the data to the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center’s Enterprise Sensors Lab, at the Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. At the lab, the data was processed and combined with other sensor data, to form a stereo track of the vehicle that is targeted.
The Vice President of missile defense and missile warning programs for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems division, Doug Young, stated that the capability to form stereo track out of STSS sensor data is an important precursor to show the capability to support the remote capability of the Aegis launch. Young added that STSS satellites will participate in the future Aegis tests to prove that their stereo track accuracy has the potential to enable Aegis launch on target missile’s remote intercept.